YouTube has suspended the channel of Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) chairman Tomio Okamura who stated that videos portraying crimes committed by migrants in Europe, which he often posted, are behind the ban.
Facebook is also currently mulling banning his account as well, according to Czech news portal Reflex.cz.
“We are witnessing rigid censorship, and emerge of totalitarianism,” commented Okamura on the steps taken by both social networks.
Okamura, who is a Czech-Japanese politician and founder of the SPD, pointed out that YouTube has suspended his account because in his videos, he refuses to accept illegal migration, Islamization, and EU policies related to these matters. The fact that he is also drawing attention to the dangers posed by these developments is why Youtube is targeting him, he says. At the same time, he announced that he had started a new YouTube channel.
“I consider the fact that YouTube banned my channel, on which I published uncensored information, a gross attack on freedom of speech, as well as an attack on fundamental civil rights guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It disrupts free competition among political parties declared in the Czech Constitution,” he added.
According to YouTube, its policy forbids posting violent or cruel videos that primarily aim to shock people or seek sensation. Similarly, Facebook’s rules ban, among other things, the dissemination of illegal, misleading, discriminatory, or fraudulent information.
Besides Okamura’s account, Facebook is also considering suspending the SPD Movement account as well as the profile of the party’s vice-chairman Radim Fiala. SPD, which gained almost 11 percent of the vote in the latest parliamentary election in 2017, has previously stated that if Facebook cancels its account, it will take the case to the court.
Censorship on mainstream social networks has become a source of success of the new communication platform Parler, which gained popularity after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to leave Twitter as the platform hid some of his posts. Thanks to the absence of censorship, the network is becoming more and more popular among users.
Youtube has recently ramped up censorship of conservatives across its platform, both large and small, in the run-up to the 2020 U.S. presidential elections. Already in 2017, the well-known conservative channel Prager University faced censorship on the site, prompting PragerU’s founder to sue the tech giant. Youtube placed many of its videos in “restricted mode”, leaving the channel unable to monetize those videos.
Recently, the philosopher and conservative thinker Stefan Molyneux had his Youtube channel banned, which resulted in the banning of the largest philosophy channel on all of Youtube. Molyneux was on the platform for 14 years. Other popular conservatives, such as Steven Crowder, have had their channels demonetized.
Twitter later followed suit by permanently suspending Molyneux’s account. Twitter recently banned 7,000 accounts and placed restrictions on over 150,000 more accounts that the company said were promoting the “QAnon” movement. Critics said there was no clear criteria for labeling a Twitter account a QAnon account and that it was being used a pretext to restrict accounts that are generally supportive of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Reddit has also banned 2,000 sub-reddits, including r/The_Donald and r/TheNewRight, with one user warning about the ban wave before it hit this month:
I’ve been working in the San Francisco tech industry for about 15 years now and have a few friends that work at Reddit. Apparently they’re going to ban a large number of subs on Monday and frame it as an anti-racism initiative, but the scope of the subs being banned is supposed to be larger than that. The staff is anticipating that things are going to be crazy. That’s all I know.
With the ban of Okamura’s account on Youtube, it may demonstrate that Central European conservatives are also being increasingly targeted for censorship on Big Tech platforms. Last year, an entire Polish conservative Youtube news channel with hundreds of thousands of followers was banned from the network, prompting the channel’s creator, Marcin Rola, to say that YouTube is censoring conservative content and that the corporation must be fought by those who value free speech.
Title image: Tomio Okamura leader of Czech right-wing Freedom and Direct Democracy speaks during a rally organized by League leader Matteo Salvini, with leaders of other European nationalist parties, ahead of the May 23-26 European Parliamentary elections, in Milan, Italy, Saturday, May 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)